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|Veterans Recognized During 'American Ex-POW Recognition Day'
|As they have for the past 26 years, dozens of ex-prisoners of war along with their friends and family gathered to commemorate the service of those who were formerly and currently imprisoned, as well as those who have lost their lives in internment camps.
April 9, 2009 was officially deemed "American Ex-POW Recognition Day" in the state of Illinois, according to a proclamation signed by the governor.
"April 29th I was sleeping in the top of the haystack in the loft when I heard a big ruckus outside," recalled Tony Matkovitz, one of the ex-POW's in attendance at a ceremony Thursday at the Governor's Mansion in Springfield. "I saw the Germans dropping their guns and raising their hands as the tanks were coming in from the 10th Armored Division, I think it was. That was a very happy day for me."
Prisoners of war are not always treated badly. In fact, Matkovitz recalls that even though he'd been shot in the chest and leg, opposing soldiers carted him around to hospitals to get him treatment, and even gave him alcohol to ease the pain.
Not all POWs are so lucky. Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Dan Grant says the governor signed the proclamation to remember the life of Matt Maupin of the 724th Transportation Company in Bartonville, who was captured by Iraqi insurgents in 2004. Four years later in April 2008, an Iraqi tipster told American troops of Maupin's remains, which were then laid to rest.
Grant says with so many prisoners of war right in our backyard, it's important to recognize all they do for the country.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|04 09 09 by Newsroom
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